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 Alone for Christmas

Dealing With An Epidemic Of Loneliness

Article Date: 16 Dec 2010 – 2:00 PST

As the festive period approaches, The Lancet is publishing its winning Wakley Prize Essay together with an Editorial on the epidemic of loneliness, which is never more evident than at this time of year when many other families are spending time with their loved ones. The Essay is by Dr Ishani Kar-Purkayastha, UK Health Protection Agency, London, UK, who based her essay on a collage of encounters she had as a junior doctor with an elderly patient desperate to spend Christmas in hospital with fictitious injuries rather than return home to spend it alone.

The elderly patient (who is given the false name Mrs Doris Rafferty for the story) explains in the story that her husband died more than 20 years earlier, while both her children live abroad. She complains of injuries that a battery of tests cannot confirm in order to extend her stay in hospital, before briefly breaking down. “It’s just that I’m all alone and there are so many hours in the day,” she says, before letting out a forlorn noise that is neither laugh nor cry. “Doctor”, she asks, “can you give me a cure for loneliness?”

Dr Kar-Purkayastha says: “There are probably thousands like her. Men and women who have lived a lot and loved a lot. Men and women who are not yet done with being ferocious and bright but for whom time now stands empty as they wait in homes full of silence; their only misunderstanding to have lived to an age when they are no longer coveted by a society addicted to youth.”

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/211604.php

 

Eating To Manage Your Holiday Stress? You Are Not Alone

Article Date: 15 Dec 2010 – 5:00 PST

During the holiday season it can be difficult to keep to a healthy diet, even for those most dedicated to healthy foods and activity. In addition to the ongoing temptation of cookies and candies, many Americans experience heightened stress during the holidays, which can result in unhealthy management strategies, such as overeating. The American Psychological Association’s 2010 Stress in America survey found that 40 percent of adults surveyed reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods because of stress in the past month.

The survey, which was conducted online by Harris Interactive in August 2010, also showed that Americans appear to be caught in a vicious cycle where they don’t think they have the time or willpower to make the lifestyle or behavior changes necessary to manage their stress in healthier ways. Unhealthy eating is one reaction to stress that can affect both parents and children. According to the survey, 27 percent of overweight children reported eating to make themselves feel better when they are stressed. Children also report awareness of their parents’ stress. Ninety-one percent of children report that they know their parent is stressed, however 69 percent of parents report that they think their stress has a slight impact or no impact on their children. And children who say their parents are always stressed are more likely to report having a great deal of stress themselves than those who say their parents are never stressed (17 percent vs. 2 percent).

Read in Full:  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/211517.php



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